Today we look at some advanced English vocabulary. You know the sort of English words and phrases that turn up in newspaper and magazine articles? There is a common problem, where English language learners who understand most spoken and written English, find radio and TV news, newspapers and magazines hard to comprehend. If you want to understand the English news, this podcast English lesson is a great place to start.
So lets take an interesting newspaper article about uni students staying home because of the cost-of-living crisis in the UK. I will read out the article, identify any tricky phrases or idioms, explain the spelling and vocabulary in a full breakdown of the English used. Of course the newspaper article itself is interesting and worth listening to!
This lesson will help you level up your English comprehension so you can follow the news in English. We have lots and lots of other free English lessons focused on phrases, idioms and listening comprehension practice here on our adeptenglish.com website. We also have some outstanding English courses designed to help you with your English language learning to use exactly the same listen and learn method you will listen to today. So take a look here. You never know, it might be the push you needed to get your English fluency.
News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.
⭐ Lord Northcliffe
This change in the type of English language used is because news and magazines writers often use idioms and phrases to imply a meaning or an idea to make content engaging. They need to entertain the reader/listeners to make money! It’s the type of English you avoid in everyday conversations, because you would sound very stuffy and formal, and you probably don’t want your audience to work too hard understanding what you are trying to communicate.
- Tricky: difficult to deal with or understand
- Article: a piece of writing about a specific topic, usually in newspapers or magazines
- Entertain: to provide enjoyment or amusement
- Crisis: a difficult or dangerous situation that needs urgent attention
- Groceries: food and other household items sold in a store
- Admission: the act of allowing someone to enter or join an organization
- Brace: to prepare yourself for something difficult or unpleasant
- Laundry: the process of washing, drying, and folding clothes and linens
- Surveyed: to ask a group of people questions to collect information about their opinions or experiences
- Rite: a ceremony or custom that is performed in a particular way
- Trend: a general direction in which something is changing or developing
Hi there. Let's do some advanced vocabulary today. The sort of vocabulary that's used in a newspaper article. What do I hear you say? You've got quite good English listening and speaking skills, but newspaper and magazine articles are still difficult for you? Well, I'm not surprised. These sorts of articles use all kinds of formal vocabulary, formal words that you don't hear in everyday spoken English conversation very much, and writers are also trying to entertain their readers.
So they tend to use idioms and words in different, in new and interesting ways. But that's confusing when English isn't your first language. So today I'm going to use an article from the Sunday Times. I'll read it out to you and then I will unpack the vocabulary and hopefully unblock your understanding.
It will give you opportunity to listen to the passage, the article, a number of times, so that the new vocabulary sticks in your mind and you'll be able to understand it.
Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.
Let's take this article from the Sunday Times newspaper. Let's explain the vocabulary. If you take the average newspaper or magazine article, there will be quite a lot of words which may be difficult for you. Newspapers use more formal language and the words are being used in slightly different ways to keep the English-speaking reader interested. But this can be difficult if English isn't your first language.
So this article is about the cost of living crisis and the way that students in the UK who are thinking of going to university in the next couple of years may start to choose to stay at home, to save money. I'll read the article, first of all. See how much meaning you can understand from your first listen - that's important. You need to grow your tolerance of not understanding. You need to keep your focus and your concentration, even when you don't understand certain words, because that's what it will be like in real-life English conversation. So it's a good skill to practise. Then after I've read you the passage, the article, I'll talk through the more difficult vocabulary and you can listen again, once you've understood. It's a really good way to learn, this.
OK, here's the passage. See how you do.
"Parents brace themselves for three more years of cooking, cleaning, and laundry, as hundreds of thousands of teenagers plan to live at home during their university education, due to the cost of living crisis. Claire Marchant, Chief Executive of UCAS, the Universities and College Admission Service, said parents would have to get used to their children, opting to stay in the family home rather than the traditional 'rite of passage' of moving out to live in student accommodation. UCAS surveyed 18 year olds applying for university this year about the cost of living and found that one in three said their biggest worry was 'housing'. One in five said their second biggest worry was 'groceries'. Students normally want to move away from home to "explore their independence" Marchant said. But early indications were that that trend was reversing."
So that's from the Sunday Times, 24th of July, 2022, page nine. And it's by Sian Griffiths, that piece.
So I'm gonna work through the vocabulary from that passage. Just the same as I do on our Course One: Activate Your Listening. If you haven't tried Course One: Activate Your Listening, it is full of this method for learning. Available on our website at adeptenglish.com.
'Parents brace themselves for three more years of cooking, cleaning, and laundry.' So parents, P A R E N T S. That means your mum and dad, your mother and father. And 'to brace oneself'? That's B R A C E. In its literal sense, it means 'to get ready for impact'.
It's what they say when you're on board, a plane - 'brace, brace!'. So you put yourself in a particular position because there's going to be an impact. And here as though preparing for a 'metaphorical impact', that of your children staying home rather than leaving at 18, parents are being told to 'brace themselves'.
Three more years of cooking, cleaning, and laundry? Hmm. The implication here is that the 18 to 21 year olds don't do any of that themselves, if they stay home. Not in my house. That's not true! And the laundry, L A U N D R Y means 'washing the clothes and the bedding'.
So 'hundreds of thousands of teenagers'? A teenager, T E E N A G E R is someone who is 'in their teens'. That's an age with 'teen' on the end. So teenagerhood starts at 13 years old. And the last year of it is 19 years old.
And 'the -cost of living crisis' - that's a new phrase, which is summing up how everything is more expensive at the moment. What it means is the cost of living - it literally costs us a lot just to live. That's why it's a crisis.
And children 'opting to stay in the family home rather than the traditional rite of passage of moving out to live in student accommodation'. Yes. I think that the UK is perhaps unusual in that it's most people's expectation that when they go to university, it's an opportunity to go and live in a different part of the country, importantly, away from mum and dad.
That's why it's called a 'rite of passage', R I T E. That phrase suggests something, like leaving home here, is a ritual, which marks a person passing from one phase of their life to another. That's a 'rite of passage'. It's rather like a coming-of-age.
And 'student accommodation'. That just means student housing, often called 'halls of residence', in UK universities. Watch that spelling - A C C O M M O D A T I O N. So two Cs, two Ms in 'accommodation' and in 'accommodate'.
Next sentence, 'UCAS surveyed 18 year olds applying for university this year'. The word there, 'surveyed', S U R V E Y E D. That means they asked 18 year olds to fill in a survey, a questionnaire. They asked them a number of questions, and then they put together the results. And 'applying' means 'in the process of making an application' to university this year.
And they obviously asked, 'What is your biggest worry?' 'What is your second biggest worry?' 'And your third biggest worry?' A worry, W O R R Y is something that's on your mind, that bothers you, that you're concerned about. Perhaps it keeps you awake at night. That is 'a worry', a perceived problem in the future.
So one in three, 33% of those asked, said their biggest worry was for 'housing'. One in five, so that's 20% said their second biggest worry was 'groceries'. What are 'groceries'? Well, that means 'food shopping'. So a grocery, G R O C E R Y - is an old fashioned term for a shop that sells food. The 'grocer', G R O C E R is the person who owns such a shop. And 'groceries', G R O C E R I E S - that refers to food. It isn't a term that you hear much in everyday conversation. We probably say 'food shopping'. But in a more formal context, the word 'groceries' and 'grocer' and 'grocery' would be used. I like this bit - 'Students normally want to move away from home "to explore their independence" - and it's got little quotation marks around it like that.
It's slightly 'tongue-in-cheek'. It's slightly amusing. It's been put into quotation marks there because it's a 'euphemism'. It's a code for something else. And probably what most people would think when they see those double quotation marks, "exploring their independence" means having a good time, getting drunk quite a lot, going to parties, lying in bed in the morning, perhaps even getting a tattoo! " Exploring their independence".
A photograph of uni students taking a selfy. Build your understanding of the English language and improve your listening, reading and writing skills.
And that last sentence, 'But early indications are'... So 'early indications' is a quick way of saying 'that's the way it looks at the moment', the way it looks as though things are going to go.
' The trend is reversing'. So 'trend', T R E N D means 'a tendency, a direction that something appears to be taking'. You might have 'trends' in the financial markets. You might have 'trends' in the weather. You might have a 'trend' in house prices, or even a 'trend' in fashion.
So when 'a trend reverses', it means it's been growing, it's been going up and up and up, and then suddenly it goes in the opposite direction. So the trend in the UK has been for more and more young people to go to university and to live away from home when they do that, that trend is reversing now.
The line goes down. So the trend for students to live away from home while at university, so that they can "explore their independence" is going down because of the cost of living crisis. It's just too expensive.
In my experience, it's not so much the parents who don't want their children to live at home anymore. It's the children themselves that want to move out. They don't want to live with their parents anymore. They don't want to live at home. Or maybe that's just my children, but uni is something of a rite of passage.
One of my daughters has already left university. The other one is currently just at the end of her first year and will be starting second year in September. And they both have had 'a whale of a time' at university. They wouldn't have missed it for anything.
I did too. It was really important to me to leave my hometown and experience living somewhere else in the UK, when I went to university, when I was 18. University life does change you and it does grow your independence. And it does tend to mean that you no longer want to live with your parents. But it's a shame - fewer people are probably going to have that experience from now on.
OK. So I hope that running through the more difficult vocabulary means you're able to understand that passage better on second listen. It is exactly the kind of help I give on Course One: Activate Your Listening. In that course, there are conversations and there are lots of articles and then separate recordings where I explain the vocabulary like a teacher, like a tutor, and then you can go back to the original recording and hear it again, but this time with much more understanding of the words.
This is a really good way to learn. And that course is on our website at adeptenglish.com. So don't forget, go back to the beginning and listen to that passage again, now you've had the vocabulary explanation. In fact, listen to it a few times and each time you listen, your understanding will get better.
I hope that helps your English language learning!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com
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